21 Oct 2016

Review: Annika Nail Colour


If like me you're a big gel nails fan, and are lucky enough to have a Capital trade card,  you'll have heard of The Edge Nails. They are a brand which produces great equipment, products and always has the newest trends out quickly. I got an email a few weeks ago letting me know they are now creating regular nail polishes for those of us who can't get into a trade shop (or know someone with a trade card...). They've called the brand Annika and stock loads of colours which are all Formaldehyde, Toluene and Phthalate free (the nasties). They're £3.50 + VAT each (that's £4.20 to us).

I was sent four colours to review, a chic grey, a lovely nude, and a pink and white for a French manicure. Here's swatches of each which I have photographed in several lights:

Clean Slate
Clean Slate is a gorgeous, stormy grey. The kind of colour which isn't flat, but you can see shades of blues, purples and pink in like a storm cloud. I found this colour really flattering on my pale skin and can see it complimenting all skin tones. 




Bella Ballerina and White Swan

Bella Ballerina is a sheer, pale pink which gives nails a natural glow (see ring finger). It's very pretty but don't expect a thick layer. White Swan is a more opaque, perfect white colour. It's perfect for french manicures or just all over. See little finger for how 2 layers looks. The rest of my fingers and thumb are my attempt at a french manicure using both colours. 




Cafe Au Lait

The final colour is Cafe Au Lait - the perfect nude. As you can see it's a lovely, pinky beige which was very flattering and had enough warmth to make me look like I was still alive. It's a great work colour. This opaque effect was achieved with only two coats. 



Overall, I really liked the range. There are a huge number of colours to choose from, the polish is lovely quality and applies well. A bonus is also that it dries quickly! It is fairly hardwearing - lasting on me as long as other polishes which sell themselves as long-wearing. I found it also lasted better without a basecoat. Maybe this was because my basecoat is Nails Inc which I have been totally unimpressed with, and this would do better with an Annika basecoat - I don't know. 
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19 Oct 2016

Review: Rapidwhite 2 Week Tooth Whitening System


For holiday, I decided to whiten my teeth. I've posted before about loving Crest White Strips, but they're getting harder and harder to get hold of in the UK. I decided to try out a cheap-ish kit from Boots. This is the Rapidwhite 2 week tooth whitening system and costs £20.

The kit comes with toothpaste, an activator liquid, whitening gel and a mouthguard. The mouthguard is mouldable, so you put it in boiling water, put it in your mouth and it shapes to your teeth. You use this kit for 10 minutes, twice a day, for two weeks.


So before we go on to the review, here are the before and after photos:


I already had pretty white teeth, but the kit has given them a bit of a lift. The kit promises 8 shades whiter, which I obviously haven't achieved, but if your teeth really were at no 9 on the chart (super brown), I wonder how well it would work. Because the system takes so long (2 whole weeks, twice a day!) I didn't notice the difference until I looked at the before and after photos.

So the process is: clean your teeth gently, fill the trays with a little whitening gel, and then rub the accelerator liquid over your teeth. It's in a tube with a fabric top (a little like a bingo dobber). You then put the trays into your mouth before you close your lips and rub the accelerator off. You then leave it for 5-10 minutes, before you rinse your mouth and brush your teeth properly with the special toothpaste they give you.

There are several pros and cons to the system

Pros:

  • It works
  • It's gentle - no sensitivity and you know it contains no strong ingredients like bleach
  • The kit is fairly cheap
Cons:
  • It tastes gross! The liquid often leaked out the mouthguards and tasted like minty chemicals. Gross
  • You don't know how much of the gel to put into the trays, therefore I ran out before the two weeks was up. I go about 12 days out of the kit. 
  • It turns out 5 minutes is a really long time in the morning, when you're running late. After a week I got a hang of how to fit it into my routine, but it wasn't easy and I did skip it once when I was so frustrated with how long the whole process took. 
Overall - I don't think I'd buy the kit again. Although it was a good price and did deliver results, there are more options out there, which take less time and are less faff. I will endeavour to keep trying kits and giving you full reviews! 
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17 Oct 2016

New Long Tall Sally range - CURATD #CURATDxLTS

Long Tall Sally have released a new line called CURATD today! It's a 25 piece collection of both floaty fabrics and prints, alongside angular tailoring. There is a sharp tux! A cutout jumpsuit and a lovely floral print maxi dress.

To celebrate the release, the LTS team sent me some items to try out. I am wearing the heavy turtleneck knit jumper and 7/8 frey hem jeans. As usual I wore my outfit out to walk little Teddy dog with my Instagram boyfriend. As you can tell from the photos he's enjoying getting arty with my new camera.




I had never considered tall jeans before, but these grey ones have got me thinking. Although the leg length is too long to be 7/8 length on me (I'm the shorter end of LTS's demographic) the cut makes a big difference. The bleached patches sit on my knees, rather than being too high up, and the high-waist actually sits on my waist. You can tell tall jeans are more "sculpted" to all aspects of being tall, rather than just having longer legs.


The jumper is super cosy, a lovely thick knit. And it has pockets! I watched a video the other day which said when you're wearing a dress with pockets, if someone says "ooh I like your dress", it's a compulsion to say "oh thanks, it has pockets". It's true, I need to tell people! This jumper also has zips up the side of the hips to give it a split look if you wanted. It adds a bit of texture and interest. 


I wore the outfit with my Mulberry Bayswater in Oxblood (also known as my baby) and my Lotus Annabeth ankle boots from Brantano. Obviously I wouldn't normally take my lovely mulberry on a dog walk. I got it 2 weeks ago from my lovely parents to celebrate me being a doctor now! It's my work bag and makes me feel very grown up when I go to work! 



And because I can't resist, here's some photos of little Teddy. Again, I'm also enjoying learning to use my new Nikon D3500. 



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15 Oct 2016

GIVEAWAY! The National Wedding Show Tickets and Goody Bag!

Are you a bride to be? Do you want to go to The National Wedding Show on 22nd and 23rd October in Manchester? Then you're in luck!



The National Wedding Show is the ultimate shopping destination for discerning brides and grooms across the country. Returning this autumn with a spectacular line-up of the nation’s finest wedding suppliers and the hottest names on the high street, the show offers everything from fabulous flowers and delectable cakes to show-stopping entertainment and exquisite stationery – not forgetting the all-important wedding dress!   The autumn shows promise to be the best and most beautiful yet.

Lauren Loves has teamed up with The National Wedding Show to offer one lucky reader and their ‘plus one’ the chance to attend the year’s most prestigious wedding event and receive an exclusive VIP goody bag featuring must-have’s from: Richard WardBlossom HillGrazeessieRevlonProper Corninvisibobble, Steam CreamTeam Hen &Emily Crisps. Tickets are valid any day and are limited to one pair per winner. Tickets to be allocated and collected from the onsite box office on arrival.

There are several prizes! 

-          1x VIP Goody Bag for Winner plus 1 x pair of tickets (2 tickets total) for winner and a friend to attend NWS Manchester (22nd-23rd October 2016)
-          3 x pairs of tickets (6 total) for runner up to attend NWS Manchester (22nd-23rd October 2016).
Ts&Cs
-          Tickets are valid any day and are limited to one pair per winner.
-          Tickets to be allocated and collected from onsite box office on arrival. ID May be required.
-          VIP Goody Bag to be posted to the winner or collected onsite.

To enter:

Tweet "I've entered the @laurenlovesblog giveaway for @nationalwedding tickets and goody bag" with this picture:


Instagram or Facebook "I've entered the @laurenlovesblog giveaway for @nationalweddingshow tickets and goody bag" with the picture

Or you can do both! 

Get entering now! The giveaway will close at 11.59pm on Monday 17th October so the winners will know Tuesday morning if they have tickets


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Going out dresses - is it too early?

Am I allowed to say it? *looks around* It's nearly party season! I know summer is only just over, but now it's getting colder I get very excited for winter parties! For that reason, I've curated a little selection of going out dresses in lovely colours like red and berry colours, golds, nudes and a little sparkle! Here are my picks

A lovely twisty scrappy dress for £18 from Boohoo.com 

This scalloped dress from Boohoo is only £15!


This all over sequin wrap dress from Quiz is £39.99

This red Bardot dress is only £22.99

This shimmery mermaid dress is £55 from ASOS

Or a black and gold glittery dress for £29.99 from Quiz


This post was sponsored by Quiz, but I chose the clothes. 
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6 Oct 2016

Autumn wardrobe update!

It's Autumn. The shadows are cold, people are talking about Halloween and it's dark when I leave the gym in the evenings. Although I mourn the summer, I agree with Dawn O'Porter that this time is a great one for resolutions, change and fresh starts. It's the beginning of a new school year, new season and for me, new wardrobe updates! As I am starting my grown up job this month, there is a bit of a "cosy at work" theme with some "going out for drinks with friends after work" vibes. Here's my selection. It includes little boots, cosy cover-ups (but not quite as thick as winter coats, because we all know October heatwaves are a thing!) and funky bottoms. Obviously there is also a wide selection of knitwear - my favourite. 















Chuck in this bag and I'm done! 

Looking forward to seeing your autumn inspiration on Instagram! 

This post was sponsored by Very.co.uk but all items are ones I have picked and covert! 
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3 Oct 2016

Outfit post: Anniversary party

This is a long overdue post! Last month my wonderful Mummy and Daddy celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary! I thought I'd share my outfit from the evening. 



I wore a navy scuba dress from ZaraLena ...



ZaraLena was amazing! I discovered her through instagram and she handmakes dresses to your measurements. This dress is the Ariel dress and cost £45! It's made of beautiful, lined, thick scuba which was very "sucky in" and flattering. I paired it with some rose gold court shoes (£24.99) which were super high, and a rose gold belt (£15) from ASOS. Near the beginning of the night, I swapped for my Long Tall Sally gold flats though (which are reduced to £18 currently!)


We had a brilliant night. Sadly we were badly let down by a photographer called Tom Barnett so I had to step in as photographer. He's a local Hampshire/Gosport photographer and said he'd photograph the night. However the week before the event he stopped getting back to our emails! I put on a local photography page that he was missing our emails and he said he'd reply (I was presuming it was an innocent mistake and that was the only way I could contact him!). Long story short, he didn't turn up and didn't warn us in time to get another photographer. Also he blocked me from the local camera group which is annoying as I was enjoying learning photography though them. Needless to say I am furious as this party was a big deal, particularly with my dad now in remission from cancer. Sadly seems like I'm not the only one disappointed. Anyway, I did my best with my photography, and have since bought a Nikon D5300 camera and am learning new tricks!



My gorgeous mum and dad. Mum is wearing a cute yellow dress from Coast, isn't she a babe!



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1 Oct 2016

Autumn Outfit Post: Not Wearing Black

I wear a lot of black, and because of that I buy more and more black things to compliment my exclusively black wardrobe. In an effort to wear more colour and "soften" my look a bit, I decided this autumn to try and get some brown into my wardrobe. 




I am wearing: 
Faux Suede Biker Jacket £40 from MissGuided
Burgundy Batwing top £12.99 from New Look 
Rosie Jeggings £12 from Matalan
Lotus Annabeth Ankle Boots £70 from Brantano

Teddy is a poser too

I love these Ladies ankle boots which I was recently sent from Brantano. I know it's a rubbish thing to moan about, but it's been so warm I've not even worn them yet! They're real leather and very comfy. You can turn down the ankle to show the shearling fluff, or keep them turned up and know secretly your feet are so cosy! They also come in light tan and black if you prefer to stay on the dark side. 



The Matalan jeggings are my no 1 bargain recommendation. I got three pairs recently (well for £12 each you can't refuse). They're lovely thick denim so don't cling and show your knobbly knee caps like Topshop Moto ones do. They are quite high waisted and go over the muffin top, and have wide elastic so comfy fit. I've been telling everyone about them! 

 


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